The Hawkes Bay Hawks have coasted to a 106-69 victory over the Manawatu Jets tonight, in a game that was never really in doubt for the home team. This vital win for the Hawks moves them back into the Top 6 – and with that a Finals berth – with only one game remaining in the Sal’s NBL season.
Ethan Rusbatch and Jordan Hunt had 17 apiece, joining 7 Hawks in double figures alongside Jack Salt with 14 points and 7 rebounds, Tajuan Agee (11), Quintin Bailey (11) Hyrum Harris (10) and Jarrod Kenny (10). Kenny also with a game-high 13 assists in the game.
John Bohannon led the Jets with 17 points & 14 rebounds in their final game of the season, while Shane Temara had 17 and 8. Isaac Faamausili had 13 off the bench and Nathaniel Salmon had 8.
Both teams came into this one missing key players – Hawke’s Bay without Deron Raukawa while Bohannon was the sole import for the Jets, with both Zane Najdawi and Rob Crawford heading back home.
The Hawks built a 23-14 lead in the first quarter, led by an impressive Kenny with 9 assists – with all nine of these dimes accounting for Hawke’s Bay’s 9 field goals. Rusbatch was the primary beneficiary with 8 first-quarter points and Hunt with 7 points off the bench.
Hawke’s Bay extended their lead in the second, at one point up by 17 points before a late-quarter surge from the Jets reduced it to 13. The Hawks led by Rusbatch’s 11 points (3-5 from downtown), Kenny’s 6 points and 9 assists and 8 points from Agee, while Temara paced the Jets 13 points (3-5 from outside) and Bohannon registered 6 and 7. As a team, the Jets were held to 31% shooting and had 11 turnovers to the Hawk’s 7.
That lead would extend out to 23 in the third, thanks to a trio of triples from Hunt and other from Rusbatch and Agee; both teams struggling to score in the bottom end of the period as fatigue set in for both sides, but the Hawks taking a 70-48 lead into the final period.
With the game out of the hand in the 4th quarter, the Jets emptied their bench with youngsters Petelo Leaupepe, Benjamon Robertson, Lukah Richards and Isaac Morrison all seeing minutes. The Hawk’s lead ballooned out to the 30’s, with the final score of 106-69 going into the books.
The Hawk’s final game of the season is at home versus the 7th-placed Canterbury Rams, meaning that a spot in the Final 6 depends – in part – on the win. This was the final game of the season for the Jets, who are assured of a last place finish in the league with a 5-13 record.
SCORE: Hawks 106, Jets 69
Hawks: Rusbatch 17 PTS & 5 REB | Hunt 17 PTS | Salt 14 PTS & 7 REB | Bailey 11 PTS | Agee 11 PTS | Kenny 10 PTS & 13 AST | Harris 10 PTS
Jets: Temara 18 PTS & 8 REB | Bohannon 18 PTS & 14 REB | Faamausili 13 PTS | n. Salmon 8 PTS
Full box score HERE.
Stuff MVP Votes
Ethan Rusbatch (Hawks) - 8 votes
Jarrod Kenny (Hawks) - 8 votes
Jordan Hunt (Hawks) - 5 votes
Shane Temara (Jets) - 4 votes
Jack Salt (Hawks) - 2 votes
John Bohannon (Jets) - 2 votes
Hyrum Harris (Hawks) - 1 vote
Hawkes Bay Hawks – 6 August vs Canterbury Rams
Manawatu Jets – n/a